Watermelon Fest celebrates famous Sugartown fruit

By By Jordan Gribble / Special to the American Press

DERIDDER — The eighth annual Beauregard

Parish Watermelon Festival will run today-Saturday, June 27-29, at the

parish fairgrounds.

The event will feature carnival rides, a talent competition, music, an appearance by Jessica Cavalier of “Swamp People,” and

contests for both eating and carving watermelons.

“The soil up here creates the perfect conditions for these melons to grow, resulting in a melon known for being extremely

juicy and for its sweetness,” said Cleo Martin, administrative assistant with the Beauregard Tourist Commission.

“This is the biggest festival we’ve planned so far, and we’ve got a lot of great vendors, contests and performances planned.

It’s just a great time for families.”

The festival, which Martin said is expected to draw nearly 7,000 visitors, will begin today with the opening of a carnival

and the Miss Beauregard Watermelon Festival Pageant at 6 p.m.

Cavalier will be at the event 4-10 p.m.

Friday, and Blackbird and Warren Storm and Willie Tee & the Cypress

Band will perform

at 6 and 8:45 p.m.

The festival will open at 7 a.m.

Saturday with a 5K and diaper derby and will continue with another

appearance by Cavalier

10 a.m.-6 p.m.; a junior and adult watermelon seed spitting

contest at 1:30 p.m.; a junior and adult watermelon eating contest

at 2:30 p.m.; and a Watermelon Idol talent competition at 7 p.m.

“Our watermelon carving contest is

unique, because it’s not like carving a pumpkin where you would carve

out the insides,”

Martin said. “Instead most people carve into the rind and don’t

enter the meat of the melon, although some people do cut it

completely open and create things out of the rinds such as boats,

treasure chests and anything else they can think of.”

Festivities on Saturday will include performances by Jo-El Sonnier, Gregg Martinez and the Delta Kings, Da’Classics, David

Locklear, Graybow Riot and the Bee Bop Girls.

Online: www.beauregardwatermelonfestival.com.